In LARUNS, France, Jai Hindley from Australia had an impressive victory in stage five of the Tour de France. He crossed the finish line all by himself and earned the prestigious yellow jersey, making him the overall leader. Meanwhile, defending champion Jonas Vingegaard engaged in a strategic battle with his main competitor, Tadej Pogacar, and emerged victorious.
Hindley’s accomplishment, though impressive, was somewhat overshadowed by Vingegaard’s impressive display of skill. The Danish cyclist managed to achieve a significant victory on the final mountain, securing a 53-second lead over Pogacar in the overall standings.
The highly anticipated duel between the two has been the main attraction on the Tour thus far. However, Hindley, the 2022 Giro d’Italia winner and a rider for Bora-Hansgrohe, has now managed to grab some of the attention away from that.
Hindley managed to catch up with the peloton early on after they left Pau, which is known as the gateway to the Pyrenees. The group was going at a really fast pace. Eventually, Hindley was able to leave behind the other riders who had broken away from the main group, and he did this on the final climb up the Col de Marie Blanque.
In the village of Laruns, the 27-year-old cyclist raised his arms triumphantly towards the sky as he crossed the finish line, securing a victory with a lead of 32 seconds over Italy’s Giulio Ciccone and Austrian Felix Gall. Vingegaard, on the other hand, finished in fifth place, just 34 seconds behind the winner.
Ciccone’s second-place finish helped him move up to third in the overall standings. In 2019, the Italian cyclist had a moment of glory when he briefly wore the yellow jersey. He achieved this after a daring breakaway during the challenging climb up the Planche des Belles Filles.
The winner of the stage mentioned that he was prepared in case an opportunity came up during this initial and relatively easy mountain stage.
Hindley said, “I’m here to win overall, and my goal was to create as much distance as I could between myself and the other competitors.”
“I’ve had this dream since I was six years old, but I never imagined that I would actually end up wearing the yellow jersey,” he expressed.
Behind the scenes, there was chaos as different teams pursued their own distinct goals. I’m really happy because I won and I’m in the lead. The bike race is going to be intense!
Vingegaard’s team, Jumbo-Visma, surprised the UAE Team when Wout Van Aert decided to fall back from an early break and took the lead to support Vingegaard uphill. Van Aert’s impressive effort lasted for about 500 meters.
After Jumbo climber Sepp Kuss, it was Vingegaard’s turn to take the lead. He pushed hard for a while before eventually dropping back. Finally, Vingegaard made a decisive move and gave it his all for the last 15km to reach the finish line.
Vingegaard was surprised by Pogacar’s struggle.
The defending champion said, “At first, things didn’t seem promising for me today. However, during the final climb, I felt confident in my abilities.”
I was really surprised that Pogacar couldn’t keep up, especially since I was intentionally trying to challenge him.
Van Aert received the prize for being the most combative cyclist of the day.
Van Aert, one of the top cyclists in the peloton who won three stages in last year’s race, openly acknowledged that it had been a very challenging day.
He mentioned that this situation is putting pressure on Team UAE. He explained that Hindley and Ciccone managed to escape, but he had intentionally stayed behind to assist Jonas.
In the meantime, Pogacar from the UAE Team found himself in a tough spot as his teammate Adam Yates, who was leading the race overnight, seemed unable to assist in the pursuit.
Pogacar said, “Don’t worry, it’s not lost yet.” He broke his wrist in April and had to miss some important training time on the bike.
“He (Vingegaard) was much faster on that climb. “He was incredibly strong, and there was simply nothing you could do,” he said.
It’s disappointing, but it’s just the beginning of the mountain stages. We’ll keep pushing and do our best to make up for lost time.
This Thursday, the trademark Tour will take on the challenging climbs of Col d’Aspin and Col du Tourmalet, making stage six the toughest test thus far. There are also anticipated challenges on the second mountain day, covering a distance of 145km from Tarbes to Cauterets-Cambasque.
However, it’s important to note that these two ascents only cover a distance of 30km and are just a small part of the overall journey. After that, there is a challenging 16km climb to reach the summit, which follows an incredible descent from the Tourmalet peak, which stands at an altitude of 2,115 meters.